|Kach and the view from Demon Lodge (click for full size).|
The planet Hemmal has a long history of human habitation, but an even longer existence prior to the arrival of humans. Before humans were first brought to the planet, it was almost entirely a world of water and aquatic life. Located in a crowded part of the galactic core, Hemmal has periodically been irradiated by supernovae, disrupting the evolution of complex land animals.
Regardless of the supernovae, Hemmal has deep oceans and most of its continents are submerged: only the highest mountain ranges were above sea level when the pek arrived. A thousand space elevators were installed and they began the process of lifting water from the ocean into orbit. Swarms of nanorobotic devices penetrated the crust of Hemmal and sped up the planet's rate of tectonic flow and orogenesis, creating additional land and some dramatic mountain ranges, including Pelis Kel, where the planet's Buld population resides.
|Parthney, Kach and Bakeko (rendered by DAZ Studio).|
Humans are the only form of life that has been introduced to Hemmal from Earth. However, those regions of Hemmal where humans live have been decorated with artificial lifeforms that resemble plants from Earth.
Parthney and his cat, Bakeko, have been living at Demon Lodge for almost a year. Kach arrives at the Lodge for a visit, having heard that there is a strange experimental musician in residence. Kach is amazed to discover that Parthney is "false"; biologically a human male. The Buld are hermaphroditic, but they occasionally mutate and a child will revert to a human phenotype that is essentially identical to the humans of Earth.
Upon meeting, Kach and Parthney feel a connection with each other due to the similar, if low density, distribution of nanites in their brains. Of course, Kach has never seen a human male before. Due to circumstances beyond his control, Parthney is soon on his way to Earth and he does not see Kach again for 15 years.
Exode is under construction; collaborating authors are welcome.
Note: I later decided that sophisticated teleportation technology is available to the pek, making it much easier to remove "excess" water from Hemmal and expose the planet's continents.